When the ancient Greeks built the Acropolis in Athens, they didn’t take into consideration future visitors with limited mobility. Luckily, centuries later, the wards of this impressive site are taking steps to make the Acropolis more easily accessible for everyone to enjoy.
Yesterday, Dec. 3, Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis inaugurated new facilities that are designed to make the attraction fully accessible to wheelchair-bound visitors and others with disabilities. As the designated International Day of People With Disabilities, it was no coincidence that officials chose this date for the inauguration. New features to the site include an elevator on the north face of the hill, as well as artificial stone pathways, replacing the badly eroded concrete paths that sat there previously, the Associated Press reports.
Mitsotakis said the project, which was funded by the private Onassis Foundation, will “make the Acropolis accessible to everyone…without the difficulties associated with the classic route up to the Hill of Acropolis.”
Critics of the project said the new 500-meter network of 13-foot-wide pathways made excessive use of concrete. Meanwhile, the Culture Ministry stated that the previous network, which dates back to the 1960s, made heavier use of concrete and was so badly worn out that it endangered visitors.
“I was saddened to realize that over the past months there has been cheap opposition rhetoric, even about this project,” Mitsotakis said. “This is a project for the whole world and, under normal circumstances, it should unite us all.”
The Acropolis, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is currently closed due to pandemic restrictions, but is expected to reopen when the national lockdown lifts on Dec.14.
American tourists are still not allowed to visit most of Europe, including Greece. For a full list of where Americans can travel right now, check out our guide.
Jessica Poitevien is a Travel + Leisure contributor currently based in South Florida, but always on the lookout for the next adventure. Besides traveling, she loves baking, talking to strangers, and taking long walks on the beach. Follow her adventures on Instagram.
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